Part I: Migration
Lorraine Avila, a writer and educator from the Bronx, New York, draws inspiration from the diasporic experience of her community, family, and the women before her. Her stories delve into the lives of layered characters, taking readers on a journey of loss, triumph, and healing. Through her writing, Avila offers insight into the complexities of displacement and its impact on migrants. Her work has been featured in various publications, including Hippocampus Magazine, Moko Magazine, and La Galeria Magazine. In 2017, she received her Masters in teaching from New York University and was awarded a scholarship from The Wing Scholarship Program in 2019. Avila currently resides in the Bronx.
Here are some of the connecting themes within Malcriada and Other Stories:
- Identity: Many of the stories in the collection explore questions of identity, including how identity is shaped by factors such as migration, culture, gender, and family.
- Migration and class: Migration is a recurring theme throughout the collection, with many stories exploring the experiences of immigrants and the challenges they face in adapting to new cultures and environments. Class is also a recurring theme in the collection. Migration often involves significant cultural and economic changes, which can be especially challenging for individuals from lower social classes who may lack the resources and support systems necessary to navigate these changes.
- Gender: Several stories in the collection focus on gender, including the ways in which gender roles and expectations intersect with cultural and societal expectations related to migration.
- Family and gender: Family is another important theme in the collection, with many stories exploring the complex relationships between family members and the challenges of navigating these patriarchal relationships in the context of migration and cultural change.
- Culture: Culture is a central theme in many of the stories, with several exploring the clash between traditional Dominican culture and US American culture.
.What challenges do the protagonist and her family face as migrants in the story?
.In what ways does the protagonist’s experience of intra-Caribbean migration reflect broader issues related to migration and displacement in the Caribbean region?
.How does the story use specific details and imagery to portray the Dominican migrant experience?
.How does the protagonist’s experience of traveling via yola shape her perspective on migration and her identity as a Dominican migrant?
.How does the story suggest ways in which society can work to address the dangers faced by migrants who travel via yolas?
Part II: The Role of Gender in Migration
Creative Writing Exercise
Inspired by the letter in Spanish in the short story, write a short letter to yourself as a child inviting yourself to express and advocate for yourself and speak up about things that matter to you.
Group Discussion/ Group Listening
Pick ONE of the questions. Each member of the group will speak for one minute and thirty seconds.
.How does Avila portray the relationship between the protagonist, her mother, and her Abuela in “Malcriada”? What role do these characters play in shaping the protagonist’s experience of migration and gender expectations?
.What gender expectations or roles are depicted in the story, and how does “Malcriada” challenge or subvert those traditional gender norms?
.How does the protagonist navigate the expectations placed on her as a girl in Dominican society?
.What is the significance of the protagonist’s decision to stand up to her mother, and how does this relate to broader themes of agency and empowerment for women?